Thursday, February 28, 2008

Paradise Cove, Ko Olina

Ko Olina is a resort town. It was not built for the locals, it was built for vacationers and short-stay snowbirds. Of course the locals are welcome -- they make the place the fun, carefree, vacation paradise the tourism package promises.

Our students visited Paradise Cove, the Ko Olina Luau grounds, on a field trip the other day. We had fun. The children participated in traditional Hawaiian games: dancing with poi balls, Hawaiian bowling, and spear throwing (closely monitored). They also each received a traditional Hawaiian "tattoo".

The white gates beyond our hostess lead to a well-groomed garden, which one walks through to get to the luau grounds. Photos of the garden flowers will be available in a later post.

This rustic shelter guarded by a Hawaiian Tiki statue, who's job is to ward off evil spirits, is actually a bar. They are unobtrusively scattered throughout the grounds for the guests' convenience. Of course, since this was children's day, they weren't open.

On the other side of the gardens is the luau grounds. (Ignore the photographer. There were a good many children and teachers in attendance and we were all snapping pictures. ) This rustic shack hides all the necessary prep stuff for traditional Kalua Pig. We all gathered on the stone benches to watch them prep the imu (pit oven) and lower the pig onto the ti (banana) leaves. We also watched them cover the pig. Not too long after, as the kids were playing the games, the scent of roasting pig wafted to us on the breeze. If you're thinking you'd like to taste this treat, you can make a close approximation at home in your crock pot.

This is Kimo, our host for the event. He explained the steps of preparing the imu and answered our questions -- even the ones that had to do with what he was wearing under his malo (loin cloth) and his marital status. The answer to the first question was an incredulous, "You mean I'm supposed to wear something under it?" And the answer to the second question was, "Single." He even rattled off a phone number, but who knows who it actually belonged to.

I do not remember this lovely lady's name. She applied the children's "tattoos" and seriously answered all of their questions. She won my loyalty when she realized little Mattie was scared, and positioned her to watch a couple of her friends get tattooed before she tried it herself. She patiently and kindly answered all of Mattie's questions and acknowledged her fears.

I wish I could show you more photos, but most of them contain my students, so it isn't possible. Stay tuned for the next post on some of the local flora.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rugged Coast

The other day I took an afternoon and visited the ocean. Since I live within walking distance of the waves and drive Farrington Highway (our coast only road in and out of Waianae) daily, it seems strange that I'd have to dedicate time to visit the beach, but there is always too much to do and little time for play.

The Waianae (why-an-eye) coast is rugged and rocky. Most of the beaches are comprised of lava rock, coral and sand. Shells in relatively good repair are quite easy to find, however I have been told that the goddess Pele doesn't care for people taking her treasures from the beach.

This stretch of shore is between Waianae and Kopolei. It is not an official beach, but during low tide it isn't unusual to see cars pulled off the road here and fishermen standing out on that ledge. Although you cannot see it from this angle there is also a small cross out there that is often adorned with fresh flowers. This coast is not always friendly.

People aren't always friendly to the beach and ocean, either. Note the tire at the bottom left of this photo. There was a whole pile of rubble there. I thought I had framed the photograph to omit it, but apparently not. I started to trim it off in my photo editing program, but I decided that it is indeed a part of the scenery and if you plan on visiting here, you might as well be prepared for the reality. Only the "commercial" beaches have pristine sand. If you want groomed beaches, don't wander off the tourist paths.

In one of my previous posts, Surfing Wai'anae, the first photo shows you this same bit of coast from the opposite perspective, except this one cuts straight across the ocean because much of the beach here curves back out of sight.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Surfing Wai'anae

The tide is out, exposing the inner reef.

This view looks toward Makaha.

From the sea to the shore. The tide is on it's way back in.

And so are the surfers.

Surfers paddling out.


They made it look easy, but trust me, I was content to take my pretty pictures and scuffle along the shore.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Boat

For only two dollars, The Boat, affiliated with, The Bus, will take you from downtown Honolulu (Waikiki) to Barber's Point at Kapolei in just one hour. You get a scenic trip down Oahu's south shore. The Boat provides free wifi service. You can stand outside in the fresh air, or sit inside at a table and watch the view through the windows.

The schedule is set for three morning runs and three afternoon runs from Kapolei to Waikiki. The design is to help the commuters more more easily by taking traffic off the over crowded roads and putting it on the sea. One way fare is two dollars. You may catch The Bus and ride it to the boat destination points. When you get on The Bus, ask for a transfer and use it to get on The Boat.

Take your camera along -- and maybe some Dramamine -- and enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Koi Ponds

The Asian influence in Hawaii can be seen and experienced in many ways. For instance, it is common place for everyone to take their shoes off at the door. I have had several different service people come to my house and automatically, they leave their shoes at the door.

Another graceful touch is an abundance of Koi ponds. I was surprised at the size of the Koi in the indoor ponds at the Ala Moana Shopping Center. I took some photographs, but they were spoiled by a light glare across the water. Here is a puzzle for your enjoyment. Just click on the picture to get it to scramble.

Click to Mix and Solve

Monday, February 4, 2008

Lady in The Rain

I found this little lady dressed all in pink ruffles standing in the rain outside the craft store entrance of Stuart Plaza in Pearl city.

The yellow Hibiscus is Hawaii's State Flower, but the Hibiscus comes in many colors. Every time I pick one as my favorite, another comes along and steals my heart.

Not all flowers are created equal!


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